Ophthalmic Director Douglas Waugh, of Specsavers Bellshill, is one of the several hundred optometrists and ophthalmologists around the country working on the front line to provide emergency care during the current pandemic.

While most opticians in Scotland have been encouraged to reduce physical contact and provide a telephone triage service instead, certain practices must stay open for face-to-face emergency eye care.

After seeing the strain on GPs like his wife Gillian Waugh first-hand, 34-year-old Douglas “jumped at the opportunity” to ease pressure on other healthcare professionals working in NHS surgeries and hospitals.

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Amongst the 40 to 50 stores selected to become Emergency Eyecare Treatment Centres, Specsavers in Bellshill was chosen not only on the basis of its state-of-the-art equipment, but also the exemplary skillset and qualifications of its employees.

As a highly trained eye doctor, Douglas can take care of foreign body removal and has an additional independent prescribing qualification, meaning he can write prescriptions on site.

With optometrists and opticians like Douglas working on the front line during the coronavirus outbreak, it means there is one less person otherwise forced to ring the NHS or visit their GP.

Douglas was all too happy to put his name forward for the Emergency Eyecare Treatment Centres which call on the skills of professionals like himself who are working flat-out.

The centres exist predominantly to support key workers during this time, such as delivery drivers or hospital workers who rely on their vision.

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Kirsteen Newman, of Denny, is Dispensing Director in Bellshill and works alongside Douglas. She said:

“Optometrists on the front line are being overlooked.

“There are only a few like Douglas that the NHS are permitting to see patients face-to-face.

“They are saving sight every day as well as providing other key workers with glasses to ensure they can continue to do their job.”

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